Next Best Thing

Next Best Thing is a new, limited-run commentary from KMUW. Every other Wednesday, KMUW's Jordan Kirtley will take a look at ways we can stay connected from a far via virtual events and outdoor activities.

Ways to Connect

Wichita’s NEA Big Read kicks off this Saturday with a live celebration at 2:30 p.m. on KPTS Channel 8. Usually held in October, last year’s program was pushed back to January 9 through February 21 of this year. The selection is Circe by Madeline Miller — a novel that focuses on the lesser known Greek goddess.


One of my favorite things to do over the holidays is curl up with a blanket and some hot cocoa and watch something festive. Once you’ve blown through all six episodes of The Great British Baking Show: Holidays specials on Netflix, consider adding these local offerings to your queue.

Jordan Kirtley / KMUW

Yes, the winter holidays are going to be different this year, but rather than sulk, let’s look for new ways to come together and honor the holiday season.

Courtesy AIGA Wichita

Last Friday was the First Friday of November, but if—like me—you were still recovering from election night, then you weren’t in any shape to leave the house for an art crawl.


Thankfully, that week is over, and the exhibition Depth of Field: A Wichita Photo Album is still on display.

Courtesy Tanganyika Wildlife Park

Halloween will be here soon, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate outdoors with the little ones:

Courtesy Wichita Symphony

A typical October in Wichita is jam-packed with festivals, fairs and events. Although things are quite different this time, there's still plenty to do outside and online, and some venues are beginning to reopen for in-person events, with certain restrictions in place. 

Jordan Kirtley / KMUW

Now that we've made it through the dog days of summer, I can once again wholeheartedly endorse outdoor activities. Here are some options that allow for social distancing:


As a public radio employee, I’m embarrassed to admit that I just discovered NPR calls it “your evolving guide to feeling human during the COVID-19 pandemic.” I can’t say that it will live up to that description, but clearly we’re all NPR fans here, so I encourage you to check it out.

Courtesy Mark Arts

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the Ulrich Museum of Art’s community billboard project, Ulrich + Artists + You. Hopefully you’ve spotted some billboards around town. The first batch went up July 1 and new artwork will continue to pop up through November 30.


The Ulrich is taking the community aspect of this project seriously by collaborating with several local organizations. Full disclosure: KMUW is one of them.

Courtesy Tallgrass Film Association


For me, and thousands of others, fall in Wichita means it’s time for the Tallgrass Film Festival.